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South Rim View , Grand Canyon National Park

South Rim View , © Pixabay – werner22brigitte

Visit Grand Canyon Village

Visit Grand Canyon Village to start your South Rim adventure. The park service offers lodging in the village, including El Tovar, Bright Angel Lodge, Maswik Lodge and more. The Grand Canyon Visitor Information Center is located here too. So is the National Geographic Visitor Center and the Grand Canyon Railway station.

South Kaibab Trail

South Kaibab Trail, © Pixabay – skeeze

Visit Grand Canyon – South Rim Trail

You can walk along the South Rim trail or take the South Rim free shuttle to various view points when you visit Grand Canyon Village. Yavapai Point has an observation station and the Yavapai Geology Museum. At Mather Point, the park service operates an amphitheater for nature talks. You can also head west from Grand Canyon Village to Hopi Point and Hermit’s Rest on Hermit Road.

Bright Angel Suspension Bridge, Colorado River, Visit Grand Canyon

Bright Angel Suspension Bridge, © Can Stock / Pancaketom

Colorado River Hike

Only about 5% of visitors hike down to the Colorado River. Start a Colorado River Hike from either of two spots on the South Rim. The Bright Angel Trail is the most popular and safest route down, because it offers some shade and water is available. Bright Angel Trail starts in Grand Canyon Village. Allow about 4 hours down this Colorado River hike, but plan to take nearly twice as long to return. You can also take the South Rim free shuttle to the South Kaibab Trailhead and then hike down to the Colorado River. Some people make their Colorado River hike down one trail and then come back up the other.

Mule Ride, Visit Grand Canyon

Mule Ride, © Pixabay- jrslocum0

When you reach the Colorado River, you can walk across the Kaibab Suspension Bridge of the Bright Angel Suspension Bridge to the Phantom Ranch on the other side. Stay overnight and then either return to the South Rim or hike up the North Kaibob Trail to the North Rim Visitor Center the next day.

If you aren’t up to the strenuous hike, try a canyon mule ride down to the Colorado River or along the South Rim Trail. Don’t feel like a Colorado River hike? Catch all the views in comfort on a Grand Canyon Helicopter Ride. Want even more adventure? Go Colorado River Rafting.

South Rim Viewpoint, Visit Grand Canyon

South Rim Viewpoint, © Pixabay – skeeze

South Rim Free Shuttle

The park service operates several South Rim free shuttles from Grand Canyon Village. From March through November, Hermit Road is closed to private vehicles, but you can ride the South Rim free shuttle Red route to get there. Yaki Point and the South Kaibob Trailhead are closed to private vehicles year round, but you can ride the South Rim free shuttle Orange route to reach these spots.

The Blue route South Rim free shuttle stops at various locations in Grand Canyon Village. From March through September, you can avoid parking problems in Grand Canyon Village by taking the free South Rim shuttle from the town of Tusayan.

South Kaibab Trail, Visit Grand Canyon

South Kaibab Trail, © Pixabay- skeeze

Visit Grand Canyon – Hotels

  • Holiday Inn Express in Tusayan near the Park
  • South Rim National Park Lodges – El Tovar, Bright Angel, Kachina, Thunderbird, Maswik, Yavapai, Phantom Ranch and Trailer Village. These are administered by Xanterra.
  • Grand Canyon Lodge on the North Rim.
Colorado River from North Rim, Visit Grand Canyon

Colorado River from North Rim

South Rim – Desert View

Take Desert View Drive from Grand Canyon Village along the South Rim by car. You will reach Desert View in about 40 minutes. Stop at Grandview and the Tusayan Museum on the way. The Tusayan Museum provides insight into Pueblo life in the Grand Canyon 800 years ago. At Desert View, see the Desert View Watchtower and Visitor Center. Desert View provides a chance to glimpse the Colorado River just before it enters the narrow Grand Canyon gorge.

Desert View Watchtower, Visit Grand Canyon

Desert View Watchtower © Can Stock / Pancaketom

Visit Grand Canyon – North Rim

You can reach the North Rim by car from Las Vegas or from Salt Lake City. Visit Zion & Bryce Canyon National Parks along the way. The North Rim park is open from mid May to mid October. When you reach the North Rim, stay at the Grand Canyon Lodge in Grand Canyon National Park at an elevation of 2,500 m (8,200 ft). There is a grocery store, tourist facilities and the Visitor Center at this location too. From the lodge, walk along Bright Angel Point Trail for views of the canyon at Bright Angel Point.

South Rim View with Light Snow, Visit Grand Canyon

South Rim View with Light Snow

Descend on foot into Bright Angel Canyon on the North Kaibab Trail or enjoy hiking along the plateau bordering the Grand Canyon at Transcept Trail, Ken Patrick Trail or Widforss Trail. Widforss has very little change in elevation over its 5 mile one way distance. There are several great viewpoints on Widforss Trail. The Grand Canyon – North Rim offers the opportunity to enjoy the Grand Canyon in a much more secluded setting.

Navajo Bridge, Colorado River, Visit Grand Canyon

Navajo Bridge, © Pixabay – 12019

Grand Canyon Weather

The Grand Canyon weather in summer often has highs in excess of 100º F (44º C). In the winter, Grand Canyon weather can hover around the freezing mark. Rainfall is consistently low. Thunderstorms in late summer can create flash floods that quickly swell canyon streams and gullies. Snow in winter is possible in the higher altitude at the top rim of the canyon. The North Rim Park closes in winter. Spring and fall are excellent times to enjoy comfortable Grand Canyon weather and avoid the major tourist crowds.

South Rim, Visit Grand Canyon National Park

South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park

Get to Grand Canyon

You can fly from Las Vegas to the small airport on the South Rim, but most people visit by car. Rent a car in Las Vegas and explore the Grand Canyon area over several days. The trip from Las Vegas to the South Rim or to the North Rim takes about 4.5 hours one way. Another way to arrive at the South Rim is to ride the Grand Canyon Railway 50 miles from Williams to Grand Canyon Village.

South Rim, Grand Canyon National Park

South Rim, © Pixabay – skeeze

No vehicle bridges cross the Grand Canyon National Park. The Navajo Bridge is the only crossing over the Colorado River for hundreds of miles. So, even though the South Rim is only about 15 miles away from the North Rim, you will spend about 3.5 hours driving to switch sides of the canyon. Buses operate regularly between North and South Rim for those who don’t have a car.

The South Rim is about 4 hours by car from Phoenix and the North Rim is about a 7 hour drive from Salt Lake City. Amtrak stops at Flagstaff, so you would need to rent a car from there to reach the Grand Canyon. See our Grand Canyon Area Tour blog for a circle tour from Flagstaff.

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